08-18-2002, 12:20 PM #1
Oh, that would've been a photo...
Ok, so maybe it would've pushed the design limits, but the picture of a Holstein suspended from an Aerialscope would've been a classic...
Cow's leap is udderly confusing
Sunday, August 18, 2002
By Betty Lilyestrom
LEICESTER-- She could have been trying to go one better than the cow that jumped over the moon.
Or maybe she just felt she had to get out of the heat.
Whatever her motivation, Bessie wasn't thinking about the situation she was about to create when she jumped through the barn window at Cooper's Hilltop Farm early yesterday morning.
There was no moon for her to jump over, so Bessie (not her real name; Rick Cooper doesn't believe in naming his cows) wound up -- all 1,100 pounds of her -- on the roof of the garage attached to the barn.
To say that she was befuddled is putting it mildly.
“Some say that cows don't think,” said David Cooper, Rick's brother. “But if you saw her when she walked over to the edge of the roof and looked down at the ground 15 feet below, you could tell she was thinking, 'I'm not going to do that.' ”
Because Bessie, a 2.5-year-old Holstein, wasn't about to get down by herself, the problem became how to get her off the roof safely. The first suggestion was to call the Fire Department.
“We get calls once in a while to rescue cats from trees,” said Fire Engineer Rick Antanavica, who got the call from Ronald Tebo, his counterpart on the Rochdale fire company. The farm on Henshaw Street is in the Rochdale company's district. “We don't generally do that, because they eventually come down by themselves. But this was the first time we were ever asked to rescue a cow. So, we came to take a look.”
Mr. Antanavica said the Fire Department's aerial scope could handle up to 1,200 pounds, but without the gear necessary to attach the cow to the bucket, he didn't think it was safe to try.
Then someone got the idea of calling Paul Mungovan, who recently moved from Leicester to Worcester and whose company, D.J. Mungovan, is in the trucking business and has a heavy crane.
“I'll be right up,” was Mr. Mungovan's instant answer when they told him the problem. In less than an hour, he and the crane were on the scene.
With Rick Cooper up on the roof, calming Bessie as he slid two wide straps under the cow's belly and attached their ends to the crane's hook, and a small crowd biting its fingernails on the ground, the operation went along slowly, but relatively smoothly.
Firefighter Michael Dupuis stood just inside the barn window holding onto Bessie's halter in case she decided to wander too close to the edge. Then, when the rescue gear was firmly in place, Mr. Mungovan slowly moved the crane, lifted Bessie off the roof and lowered her gently to the ground. Everyone, probably including Bessie, breathed a sigh of relief.
The big mysteries are still what made Bessie run, and how did she get through that window.
Brian Daoust, the worker who was bringing the cows in for their morning milking shortly after 7 a.m., said Bessie bolted as soon as she was inside the barn, and she headed straight for the window.
The base of the window is 3 feet off the barn floor, and the window itself is 28 inches by 27 inches, so Bessie had not only to jump up, but also squeeze herself through a space narrower than she is.
And she came through it all without a scratch.
“I'm told she comes from a family of jumpers,” Marjorie Cooper, sister to the Cooper brothers, said yesterday afternoon. “Her grandmother once jumped a gate, and it's something we haven't been able to breed out of the line.”
One thing that was in Bessie's favor, Miss Cooper said, is that she is young and strong. A so-called first-year milker, she began being milked only a few months ago.
Once safely back in the barn about 10 a.m., Bessie submitted docilely -- although a little late -- to her morning milking and enjoyed her breakfast as if nothing unusual had happened.
Now, the Coopers are all hoping their jumper has it out of her system and won't be trying that feat again.
“But you just better watch out for the next full moon,” was one wag's warning.
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